Creating a First Person Javascript 3D Maze

first person javascript based maze

Sometime ago, I came across a post by Hunter Loftis titled A First Person Engine in 265 Lines. I got pretty excited. Using a technique called raycasting, Loftis implemented a first person javascript engine that could seemingly render a 3D experience in the browser with ease. As a followup to this, I decided I wanted to a shot at extending the concept and have created aMaze (see demo).

About the Game

aMaze-screenshot2The game concept in aMaze is fairly straight forward. Users begin levels at a set point in the maze and need to “escape”. Their coordinates in the maze and cardinal (compass) direction they are facing are all they have to help guide themselves to “freedom”. Each level’s maze is setup completely different and can vary in size and complexity. Because of this complexity, I’ve added the ability for users to restart levels incase they get too lost. I’ve also added a bookmarking feature that continuously captures and stores location and direction so users can come back at anytime and not lose their progress.

Creating a Maze

Not surprisingly, one of the most enjoyable pieces of this puzzle has been creatings the mazes. Each maze/level in aMaze is a simple javascript object with a number of properties. I’ve tried to use the dynamic nature of javascript to allow for configuration as much as possible.

define([], function () {
    var level = {
        id: 4,
        startingPoint: { x: 2, y: 11 },
        startingDirection: 6.2831853, // East
        size: 48,
        wallTexture: { path: "assets/brick_texture.jpg", width: 700, height: 524 },
        walls: [
1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1,
1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1,
1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1,
1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1,
1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1,
1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1,
1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1,
1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1,
1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1,
1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1,
1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1,
1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1,
1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1,
1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1,
1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1,
1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1,
1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1,
1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1,
1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1,
1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1,
1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1,
1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1,
1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1,
1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1,
1, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1,
1, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1,
1, 0, 1, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1,
1, 0, 1, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1,
1, 0, 1, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1,
1, 0, 1, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1,
1, 0, 1, 0, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1,
1, 0, 1, 0, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1,
1, 0, 1, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1,
1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1,
1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 0, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1,
1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1,
1, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1,
1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1,
1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1,
1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 0, 1, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1,
1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 0, 1, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1,
1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1,
1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0, 1, 0, 1, 1, 1, 0, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1,
1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0, 1, 0, 1, 0, 1, 0, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1,
1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0, 1, 0, 1, 0, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1,
1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0, 1, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1,
1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1,
1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1
        ]
    };

    return level;
});

javascript array in excelThe key to this object is the walls property. It is a simple array containing 1s and 0s that represents walls and no walls. This is how the raycasting knows where to draw a wall and where not to.

As you can imagine, designing a maze with 1s and 0s in a text editor can be a little challenging. To make things easier, I am using Excel with some conditional formatting to give me a visual guide. With this method, it is much easier to conceptualize each maze. When I am satisfied with the design, I can simply copy the cells and paste their contents into javascript.

Initializing the Game

To bring the different pieces together I am utilizing require.js and the AMD approach. This allows for more modularity and organization of code and allows for cleaner markup. The HTML page that the game lives on is actually very basic.

<script src="scripts/require.min.js" async="" data-main="scripts/app.min"></script>
<div id="instructions"></div>
<div id="game-meta">
<div id="currentLevel"></div>
<div id="position"></div>
<input id="restartLevel" type="button" value="Level Restart" /> <input id="restartGame" type="button" value="Game Restart" />
</div>

Once app.min.js is loaded and it’s dependent modules are ready, the game is initialized and users can begin exploring. As mentioned earlier, each level is derived from a small (~3kb) minified javascript file. Using the AMD approach, I combine each each level into a single module on initialization and they are kept in memory. This means that the entire game and each level loaded in the client browser with a surprisingly small footprint. Pretty cool right?

Want to See/Learn More?

If you would like to see more, check out the demo and explore! I would also encourage you to fork this repo on GitHub.

In addition, a big shout out to Hunter Loftis for doing a lot of the heavy lifting going on here. He has some really cool demos available in the playfuljs-demos repo on GitHub.